New Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan aiming to instil confidence and self-belief  as he dreams of a winning start against Northampton

New Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan intends to instil confidence and self-belief into the players and is dreaming of a win in his opening game at home to in-form Northampton Town on Saturday.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:10 am
Graham Coughlan - dreaming of a winning start.
Graham Coughlan - dreaming of a winning start.

Coughlan left Bristol Rovers in fourth place in League One yesterday to take over the hot seat from John Dempster, sacked last Saturday with Stags in 18th and without a win in six.

The Dublin-born former defender was delighted to take a job nearer his family in Sheffield, but promised no miracles or promises of promotion.

“It would be nonsensical if I was to come here and start singing from the rooftops that we're going to do this and do that as clearly there is a bit of a problem somewhere that we need to tidy up,” he said.

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“Let's take it one game at a time. We're going into a really difficult period over Christmas against some top teams who are on form.

“Achievement is something we should speak about later on rather than now.

“We need to walk before we run. We can't start shooting for the stars. We need to relax, see what we've got and what we need. Let's see if there are additions to made and one or two players are to get off the bus.

“We need to get on the training ground and work with them, give a bit of structure and a bit of a regime to ourselves, and instil a bit of confidence and self-belief.”

Northampton are the side Stags must currently chase, 12 points ahead of them in the final play-off spot and Coughlan said: “I would like to win my first game and get off to a good start.

“I'd like to see a response and a reaction and three points on the board on Saturday.

“Yes, it will be difficult as Northampton are flying and in a good place at the moment.

“But if we can get some points on the board we can look to get a bit of momentum into our play and ease a little bit of pressure.”He said supporters would play a major part.

“Ultimately I'd like the supporters to give us a chance and give the players a chance and back them for 90 minutes whether we play well, win, lose or draw,” said Coughlan.

“I have been here as a player as an opponent and as an assistant manager and, let me tell you, it's a difficult place to come when the crowd get up and behind this team. It galvanises their team and they get an extra 10 per cent.

“So the fans will play a major part in it as well. I can't do it on my own without the fans and players and the players can't do it without me and the fans. It's a three-way ball game and we all need to play ball with each other. Hopefully we can then fulfil our potential.

“We have a tremendous group of players here that are just not functioning. They are maybe short on confidence and maybe missing one or two vital ingredients. It's up to us to put that in.

“On paper, this club should not be where they are in the division.

“We need to ask questions and find out why they are 18th in League Two.

“There has to be a reason behind that as the squad is too good to be there.”

He added: “Naturally confidence has drained. It is difficult and I have been through it as a player, when you go so near following a season of expectation, that expectation level can weight heavy on people's shoulders.

“The club went very close to getting promoted last season and to pick that club up again and go again is a very difficult thing to do.

“There is a lull and a down period where the bubble has burst. Getting over that disappointment is not easy.

“That may need addressing. The club might need a little pick-me-up. It's only the players that can pick the club up.”